Posted in Momming Hard

Springtime Greetings, and a Recipe for “Beer Stein Milk Tea”

I’m happy to say that beautiful weather has finally arrived in Manitoba!  My tulips are blooming:

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Nearly every day, my sons bring me fresh dandelions for my windowsill:

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The sprinklers and kiddie pool have been in full operation:

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And we blew bubbles on the deck for the first time this year – always a momentous occasion:

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I went to the garden centre and purchased some annuals for my flower beds (can you believe these colors??):

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At times like these I love to have a cool, sweet drink to sip on while I’m outside.  Today’s recipe, like last year’s Easy, Breezy Iced Coffee is inspired by my husband, who is great at concocting yummy drinks at home.  It’s also inspired by bubble tea…which some people love, and some people hate.  I fall into the first category.  I even love the chewy tapioca, although my at-home version does not include it.  Like most of my recipes, this one is fast, imprecise, and un-fussy.  But it satisfies my craving for a treat-in-a-cup at those times when I can’t just go out and buy one.

So, join me for a cup of tea, will you?  Begin by brewing strong tea (I use orange pekoe) by placing one tea bag in a large mug or beer stein, and pouring about one cup of hot water over it, or enough to fill the mug just less than half way:

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Steep for 5 minutes.

Remove the tea bag, and add 3 teaspoons of sugar (adjust to taste), a few ice cubes to cool it off, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla (again, adjust to taste).  Stir.

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Pour a splash of 35% cream into the tea – enough to lighten the color and make it appear a little thicker.  You won’t need very much, if you use heavy cream.  (Yum!)

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Finally, top up the mug/stein with your choice of milk.  I use lactose-free, but regular milk or almond milk would also be good.

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I use a beer stein because it’s just the right size for me, and I don’t like beer – so hey, what else am I going to do with it?  But any large mug or even a glass would do.

If you make this, I hope you enjoy it.  And as you sip away, let me know in the comments what you have been up to lately.  Happy spring!

Warm wishes,

Lisa

Posted in Momming Hard

Easy, Breezy Iced Coffee

Recently, my husband and I were at McDonald’s (dollar drink days!) and he bought me an iced coffee.  Although I’m a huge coffee drinker, I had never really gotten into the iced variety (maybe because I’m already always cold). 😉

To my surprise, I really enjoyed it!  And since I realized how easy a great iced coffee is to make at home (and probably even cheaper than $1), I haven’t stopped guzzling them.

Here’s my oh-so-simple recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Strong brewed coffee (preferably cooled)
  • Ice (duh!)
  • Sweetened/flavoured coffee whitener (such as Coffee Mate)
  • 35% cream/whipping cream (why be skimpy?)
  • Milk

Directions:

Fill a glass about halfway with ice.  Add the brewed and cooled coffee, again until about the halfway mark.  Pour in a *splash* (technical term) of coffee whitener, and another splash of the 35% cream.  Fill the glass the rest of the way with milk, and stir it up.

Adjust all of the amounts to suit your preference.  I also use lactose-free milk in mine, because, well…you know.

I’m thinking of making a large jug of this concoction next week, when I plan to have a few ladies over.  Do you think they’ll like it?

If you make it, let me know in the comments what you think!

Warm wishes,

Lisa

Posted in Momming Hard

The Lost Art of the Roux

What do scalloped potatoes, creamy enchilada sauce, chicken pot pie, and cream of broccoli soup all have in common?  In my kitchen, a homemade roux is the foundation for all of them.

When I first learned to cook, I did so by opening cans.  My mom had given me a few of those Campbell’s soup recipe books, and I thought that was the only way to go.  I became the master of cream-soup-goop-based recipes.

And honestly, I don’t have anything against them.  I still use them from time to time.  However, I was troubled by the fact that unless I had those cans stocked up in my house, I couldn’t cook many of my favorite dishes.

How did they do it a-way-back-in-the-day…before Campbell’s soups??  (Gasp!)

I had been duped into thinking that a creamy, tasty foundation to a multitude of tasty dishes had to come from a can.

The truth is, that you can achieve the same flavour and texture quite easily by learning how to make a basic roux from scratch.

Here is the incredibly simple process:

Take equal parts butter (or margarine) and flour.  Melt the butter on the stove.  Add the flour, mix it in, and cook for a minute or two.  (It will look like a paste.)  Add liquid (broth or milk, or a combination of the two) gradually, whisking it in, until the mixture reaches your desired consistency.  Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes, stirring frequently.

Here are the quantities I use for 2 cups of roux (with a creamy, sauce-like consistency):

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups liquid (broth or milk or a combination of the two)

Since developing this skill, I find myself in the canned soup aisle very infrequently.  I feel great about making my food ‘from scratch,’ and can adjust the taste and consistency to my liking.

For additional flavour, you may cook chopped onions or garlic in the butter before adding the flour in the process I described above.  Salt, pepper, and other seasonings can also be used to adjust the flavour of your roux.

Do you use a roux in the dishes you make?  Do you use the same process/ingredients in your roux as I do?  I would love to hear your ideas in the comments section below.

Warm wishes,

Lisa